As a Smart Recovery Facilitator I started New Orleans’ first Smart Recovery Meeting. Smart mutual aid meetings are a great addition to our individual and group work.

Our meetings are Saturdays from 4 to 5:30pm at Longbranch Wellness, 701Metairie Rd, Suite 2A-301 in The Old Metairie Village shopping center (across from Langenstein’s). Use the elevator next to GNC. Meetings are free and open to the public.

In SMART Recovery®, we understand that all undesirable compulsions (and even addictions) are learned behaviors. Some people may have been exposed to a more influencing environment, while others may have a more susceptible nature. But the good news is that any undesirable habits can be understood and relearned, and then replaced with new practices or even a new lifestyle.

You also may be wondering, “How did I get into this situation?” First, do not think that there is something wrong with you. It is perfectly natural to seek pleasure and join in peer activities. It is both sensible and healthy thinking to seek escape or relief from pain or distress. It’s very easy to fall into habits when pleasure or relief is involved.

But these things can sometimes lead to a situation that has a downside that outweighs the original intent. Looking back, maybe you took too easy a road to find that pleasure and avoid that discomfort. It took a long time for the habit or habits to get to be well seated. So the process of change will also take some time and effort. The road you are on now could possibly lead to a wonderful new growth and strength in your life, or the one you have been on could possibly lead to a spiral down to deeper problems. If you make up your mind to go the high road (no pun intended), you are in the right place at the right time.

In SMART Recovery®, we often start out with a risk-reward analysis of one’s situation regarding any particular issue. Relax! Everyone has some problem areas, often many. By doing this, usually with help, you will begin to put your situation in perspective and see some of its realities in black and white. You will find your group mates both non-judgmental and helpful.

You will also soon find out that in SMART Recovery®, we want you to understand about unconditional self-acceptance. Your total worth is not measurable. You are too complex and variable to be judged as a whole person. But if the measure of your worth is permitted as with the concept of trying to have a high “self esteem”, then your self-image can also be damaged greatly when a particular “un-good” act or behavior is equated to your whole worth. This subject will take some study, but for now, remember that your mistakes or self-perceived “shortcomings” do not diminish your real worth.

As you saw at the top of this introduction, the idea here is to learn about changing things in your life. The first thing is in understanding the problem… and how those problems work in your life. Then you learn the ropes of how to challenge stuff in your own head and get some better things working. In the third big area, you realize that you ARE worth it. Perhaps you have failed to really appreciate how valuable and worthwhile you are.

Well, that’s the picture. SMART Recovery® is a non-profit organization almost completely made up of both professionals and non-professionals volunteers, who feel there is a great need in our society for the benefits of modern scientific methods to be applied to addiction. This means helping you through a change from a destructive habit to a more rewarding and fulfilling life.

SMART Recovery’s 4-Point Program® helps people recover from all types of addictive behaviors, including: alcoholism, drug abuse, substance abuse, drug addiction, alcohol abuse, gambling addiction, cocaine addiction, and addiction to other substances and activities.

SMART Recovery (Self-Management And Recovery Training) is not a 12-step group, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

SMART Recovery sponsors face-to-face meetings around the world, and daily online meetings. In addition, our online message board and 24/7 chat room are excellent forums to learn about SMART Recovery and obtain addiction recovery support.

 Our Purpose

To support individuals who have chosen to abstain, or are considering abstinence from any type of addictive behaviors (substances or activities), by teaching how to change self-defeating thinking, emotions, and actions; and to work towards long-term satisfactions and quality of life.

 Our Approach

* Teaches self-empowerment and self-reliance.
* Encourages individuals to recover and live satisfying lives.
* Teaches tools and techniques for self-directed change.
* Meetings are educational and include open discussions.
* Advocates the appropriate use of prescribed medications and psychological treatments.
* Evolves as scientific knowledge of addiction recovery evolves.

SMART and Other Recovery Support Groups

At SMART Recovery we believe that each individual finds his own path to recovery. For some participants, that path may include 12-step programs, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), or other self-empowering groups such as Women for Sobriety, LifeRing Secular Recovery, Moderation Management, or Secular Organizations for Sobriety. Although the SMART Recovery approach differs from each of these approaches in various ways, it does not necessarily exclude them. Some SMART Recovery participants choose to attend other meetings when they cannot attend a SMART Recovery meeting, as they construct their own paths to recovery.